cover image Joyride


Jack Ketchum. Cemetery Dance Publications, $40 (290pp) ISBN 978-1-58767-157-9

Sex, murder and mayhem are stock in trade for the vastly popular Ketchum (The Girl Next Door), and so are odd coincidences, which abound in this gory reissue. Wayne, a bartender and would-be killer who always chickens out at the last minute, nearly chokes his girl-friend to death while on a hike. After she runs off, he happens to see a couple committing a brutal murder and recognizes one of them as a regular at his bar. The dead man, Howard-done in by his ex-wife, Carole, and her new lover, Lee-is found in a stream by a Boy Scout who is dispassionately curious about the stinking corpse. The pathways coalesce when Wayne forces Lee and Carole into a meaningless drive inevitably complete with senseless murder. These are the actors that make Ketchum's melodrama compelling, nasty but peculiarly irresistible.